The Kings’ future in Sacramento looked bright in February, when the city and the team’s owners, the Maloof family, agreeing to a deal for a new downtown stadium that would keep the franchise in the city for the foreseeable future. But now the Maloofs now appear to be having second thoughts with the deal, and the city’s mayor, Kevin Johnson, wrote the family a letter Thursday reminding them of their “handshake” deal.
The Maloofs, who as part of the original tentative deal agreed to front $75 million for the arena’s construction, are complaining about a $3.26 million contribution toward environmental studies and other pre-development hurdles and are contending that they never agreed to the fee. The NBA has already reportedly loaned the Maloofs $200,000 to help cover those costs.
With the Maloofs potentially willing to balk at the whole stadium proposal all together, Johnson sent a letter to the family that was obtained by the media, reminding them of their responsibility to honor their commitment.
First, all parties agreed to a deal in Orlando on February 27th, codified in the term sheet subsequently approved by our City Council. At the time, George Maloof explained the Maloof Family’s reason for agreeing to the deal, saying to the Sacramento Bee that is it a “fair deal…worth taking.”
Any representation that a deal was not reached is simply not consistent with the perspective of every other party to the negotiation nor the actual statements of the family. [...]
The best – and only – way to demonstrate that commitment is to honor the “fair deal” as all other parties have done. Your handshake is your handshake. Your promise is your promise.
Johnson notably stood at center court hand in hand with brothers Joe and Gavin Maloof back in February during the first home game after the tentative deal was announced. Johnson (a former NBA point guard) is now on his way to New York to meet with the league and the Maloofs to hopefully find a resolution for this matter.
According to the Sacramento Bee, a group of 25 business owners sent a letter to Commissioner David Stern calling for new ownership of the Kings. That’s something that Johnson has reportedly also suggested.
I can think of people who’d be willing to buy the Kings, but I don’t think too many of them would be planning to keep them in Sacramento. So, for now, get used to Cheap Plastic Bracelet Arena (or whatever it’s called now), Kings fans, because that might be the only place you’ll ever see them play in Sac Town.
[H/T Eye on Basketball; Photo by Robert Couse-Baker]